PROVIDED BY GERMERIKA.NET
The German-American history does not begin with the immigration of Germans into the USA! There were Germans and thereby also German culture in America a long time before. There also wasn’t only an immigration of further Germans into the growing USA. Rather further territories came to the United States, in which Germans had already lived before. The claim of later “Nativists“ that the Germans would have been foreign in an Anglo-Saxon America, was therefore nonsense. We were there first. Later the USA was built up - a process, in which Germans were involved decisively from the beginning - always with the will and the right to live in America in our culture! - ... and that the Angles and Saxons were Germanic tribes, which had once emigrated from Germany, one may well consider hereby as well...
In 1507 the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller named the new continent for Amerigo Vespucci “America“!!!
1607 Already among the settlers, who founded Jamestown, Virginia (the first English settlement in America) was a German: the Silesian Dr. Johannes Fleischer, a medic from Breslau. In the next year (1608) eight further Germans followed.
In 1626 settlers from the Netherlands founded the city of New Amsterdam (since 1664 New York). The flag of New York City still shows the old Dutch colors today. The orange refers to the German line of Nassau-Oranien. Until today the Dutch are singing in their national anthem: “Wilhelm of Nassau I am, of German blood“. This refers to a national hero, who led them against Spanish forces during a long fight for independence., The Dutch and their Germanic language are of Frankish, Friesian and Saxon descent (see our chapter “The Tribes“). In 1626 their homeland was officially still a part of the Reich. The English word “Dutch“ is actually identical to the German word “deutsch“. The Germans were also called “Dutch“ in America (for example: Pennsylvania Dutch).
Since 1670 bigger numbers of German immigrants came to the British colonies. They settled in the existing towns. The British Royal Family was and is of German descent as well. The US-state of Georgia is named for the German Georg II, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Electoral Prince of Hanover (Lower Saxony).
The ”Concord“. It brought the later founders of the first completely German settlement in America across the Atlantic in 1683.
In 1683 the first completely German Settlement on the American continent was founded in Pennsylvania: Germantown. The first (amusingly) 13 families (like later the first thirteen states and thereby the stripes on the American flag!) came from the area of Krefeld at the lower Rhine and thereby from the centre of the old Franconia, out of which also the unification of the German tribes in Central Europe had once begun! - The foundation occurred on October 6th - today October 6th is the yearly “German-American Day“ in the USA.
In 1688 inhabitants of Germantown organized the first petition in the British colonies to abolish slavery. The birth-hour of the American antislavery movement! - ... and a very good example for the circumstance, that Germans always immediately search themselves something to organize ...
Pennsylvania anyhow developed into the centre of German culture in America soon. 1764 the German Society of Pennsylvania was founded here. It still exists today!
The majority of the now following settlers came from the Frankish culture area too, mostly from the Palatinate. 1775 about one third of the citizens of Pennsylvania were Germans! - And as everyone knows, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) is nothing less, than the birthplace of the Union!
Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) developed into an own German dialect. Until today it’s clearly related to the dialect from the Palatinate.
Further early centres of German culture were New York and Virginia. In Europe Bohemia was one of the biggest early emigration areas of Germans too.
In 1721 first German settlers reached the French colony of Louisiana. They came from the Swabian/ Alemannic culture area, from Alsace to the east of Swabia. At first about 9.000 Germans were settled in Arkansas, which was a part of the French ”Louisiana“ then. Many left Arkansas however and demanded their return to Europe in New Orleans. Yet they received the fertile land at the “German Coast“ east of the city instead. They named their settlements Augsburg, Karlstein and Mariental. In 1803 the French colonial prefect Pierre Clement Laussat described the German settlers as the most industrious, most populous, most prosperous, most upright, most valuable segment of the colony’s population. For a long time the goods of these settlers secured the existence of New Orleans, which later became the second most important harbor for the immigration of Germans to North-America. Already the above mentioned Frenchman had recommended it’s government to always continue inviting Germans to Louisiana.
In 1733 the “New York Weekly Journal“ was founded by the German-American John Peter Zenger, who was born in the Palatinate. On the order of the British Governor Cosby, who had been criticised by Zenger’s Newspaper, he was arrested an imprisoned. In the trial he was acquitted however. This was the first victory in the history of American freedom of the press(!) and made Zenger accordingly famous.
In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was published in German first(!), by the newspaper “Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote“. This happened on the 5th of July. In English one could not read it before the 6th of July.
In 1777 the Continental Army was close to being defeated, Philadelphia was occupied by British troops. The Prussian General Baron von Steuben was chosen, to reorganize the Continental Army. - ...organizing already again ... - The Americans were happy to have won a General of the worldwide best Army of that time for their cause. - That Steuben hadn’t been as important before, as one assumed, was therefore irrelevant. - Steubens contributions influenced the American armed-forces for a long time and helped the Continental Army to it’s victory against the British. Additionally the (also) Prussian Major Bartholomäus von Heer had taken over the Bodyguard of George Washington in 1778. - This evil, evil Prussian military … - The Hessian Christoph Ludwig led the supply of the troops.
From 1816 until 1819 there was a famine in south-western Germany, which led many more Swabian/ Alemannic settlers to America.
At about 1820 the Thuringian Karl Vollen reorganized the studying rules of the Harvard University (in accordance to German models). - On the other hand: what else should he have done there?! ...
Source: City of Fredericksburg - www.fbgtx.org
1847 On the 9th of May Native-Americans of the Comanche tribe and the Germans of Friedrichsburg/Fredericksburg, Texas, concluded a peace-treaty. It is the only treaty between whites and American-Indians that exists until today, without ever having been broken!
In 1848 the “Deutsche Gesellschaft von Neu Orleans = German Society of New Orleans“ was founded. It helped German immigrants, but also supported the suffering black population of the city. Soon the big immigration of persecuted German revolutionists followed, who did however not at all just flee. Many first stayed in Europe for a longer time, hoping that they might continue the revolution. Despite of all dangers for him, Friedrich Hecker even returned to Europe all the way from America!
It was a very slow, extremely bloody, martial(!) failure of the Revolution. For the republican and democratic movement in Germany this meant the loss of it’s most important and best heads. For America an enormous win. The destinations were now most of all Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa.
This immigration of many German freedom-fighters coincided with the American conflict about slavery. That the Germans refused slavery, employed free people (no matter of which race!) and took care of the suffering black population, led to anti-German tendencies in the states with legal slavery.
On August 6th 1855 22 Germans were killed in anti-German riots in Louisville, Kentucky.
1861-1865 the German-Americans almost exclusively fought on the side of the Union in the American Civil War. Their goals under the leadership of the 48er revolutionists were the Unity of the USA as well as the abolition of slavery. Bigger economical freedom in a south without large-scale land-holding was also supposed to contribute to a further immigration of Germans and thereby a strengthening of the German culture in the USA. Many cannons of the Union’s artillery came from the company of the Studebaker brothers, who had immigrated from the German City of Solingen, which is famous for it’s excellent blades until today. Apart from that the Studebakers built transport wagons, which also made the conquest of the West possible. About 25% of the Union’s troops were Germans(!), as well as Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary and his guard of German Turners, in which he trusted especially much. 196.000 US-soldiers were born in Germany. The German 48er revolutionary hero Carl Schurz is made responsible for Spain not intervening on the side of the south. Lincoln had send him to Spain as ambassador. In 1862 he returned to the USA and served as Brigadier General. Later he became Senator and Secretary of the Interior of the United States. His wife Margarethe Schurz founded the first Kindergarten in America.
In 1866 the German-American former governor of Louisiana and elected US-Senator Georg Michael Hahn was shot and severely wounded by “Whites” in the racist "New Orleans Riot“. Hahn had been a good friend of Abraham Lincoln (murdered 1865) and had strived for a public educational-system for “Blacks” as well as their suffrage.
In the following years the attitude towards German-Americans was very positive in the USA. Their contributions were obvious everywhere and the German culture throve. Compared with immigrants from other nations, Germans were preferred. In the late 19th century the number of German-Americans doubled. People from German states, in which minorities like Polish or Czechs existed, had to prove correct German language skills, to separate the wanted Germans from the not wanted Slavonic citizens of German states.
Accusations against the German culture only targeted it’s casualness at this time. Most of all celebrating, playing or drinking on Sundays bothered the puritan “English“.
In 1902 the immigration wave of German “Teddy bears” began. They (like all other soft toys of their kind) had their origin in the company of the Swabian Margarethe Steiff. Her bear received the name “Teddy“ in America, because these bears “conquered“ the country a short time after President Theodor “Teddy“ Roosevelt had rejected to shoot a little bear during a hunt. - Probably the imported animals of Steiff make the Swabians the biggest group of German immigrants to America until today ... - And they are soo welcome!!!
On the 15th of June 1904 the excursion steamboat “General Slocum“ caught fire in New York City. This catastrophe killed more than a thousand people, mostly German-American women and children from East-Village, “Little Germany”. They had been on a common journey financed by their church community. In the aftermath the horrific human losses also destroyed the German character of this part of New York. People moved away, not able to bear the sight of empty streets anymore, in which their children had always played.
Rabble-rousing Propaganda against the German culture (1) and the sinking Lusitania (2).
In 1914 World War I broke out in Europe. Against international law the allied western powers also attacked the German colonies. The propaganda-lie, that the British Empire, with it’s most powerful navy of the world, would have felt threatened by the much smaller, young German “Kaiserliche Marine“ was reduced to absurdum, as the British managed it soon to cut off the Germans from the Atlantic with a sea blockade in the German Sea/ North Sea. - Another step that violated international law. The German Reich reacted with U-boat attacks on British trading ships, to weaken the British supply too.
In 1915 this led to the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania, with many Americans on board. The reason was German intelligence about the British abusing the passengers as living shields to transport ammunition. After a Warning of the German embassy in American newspapers (before the Lusitania cast off), it was sunk by a German U-boat. One German soldier refused the order to fire the torpedo for conscientious reasons! After only one hit, the ship sank rapidly. In the following time the German people was denied being civilized. In America hatred spread - also against the own Germans!
In 1917 the USA formally became a war-party. Several US-States forbid every expression of German culture, even the language. The base of German-American culture in the school-systems was exterminated. Later the Supreme Court of the United States declared these laws to have been unconstitutional, but the harm and the fear were already there for a too long time. - Perfidious irony: After World War I a New Yorker court also judged about the sinking of the Lusitania: The attack had been absolutely legal(!), the Lusitania had been abused for the transport of ammunition!
After World War II British destroyers illegally dropped depth charges on the old wrack (a sea grave!). The (in the last years examined) remains of the wrack and thereby all evidence on the bottom of the sea got completely destroyed. Until today the British files are kept under lock and key! Personally responsible, like for many more war crimes in the Boer War, World War I and II: Winston Churchill.
1918-1933 the fear of the awful “German monsters“ or “Huns“ remarkably quickly vanished among the powerful in America. Germans were immediately preferred again in comparison to almost all other nations! …
The USA gave big credits to the (republican) German Reich, which severely suffered under territorial losses an unbearable reparations.
In 1933 an Austrian, who had been a leading politician in the Reich a long time before he had been it’s citizen(!), was announced Reichs-chancellor: Adolf Hitler. A democratic majority had never elected him, but the Germans (not only in Europe) longed for a recovery of national dignity. The dignity of the German Jews fell a victim to nazism and the much too big lack of resistance. Also in America Hitler found many supporters - also (but not at all exclusively) among German-Americans (only 25.000 were members of the nazistic “Amerikadeutscher Bund“). The most well-known Nazi-supporters were Fritz Kuhn, the leader of this organisation, the pilot Charles Lindbergh and the industrialist Henry Ford.
In 1938 a group of German (military) officers around General Ludwig Beck intended to arrest Hitler during the “Sudeten crisis“. The plan failed in the very last moment, as the western powers gave way to Hitler’s aggressive politics and he suddenly appeared as a political hero in public, which one could not topple and bring to justice anymore … - The following victories 1939-41, with unique military performances of the German soldiers, increased this problem only the more!
On December 7th 1941 the United States was attacked in Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Four days later the German Reich and Italy declared war on the USA, as allies of Japan. The leadership of the Reich hoped that this would cause a Japanese contribution to the war against the Soviet Union, but Japan still did nothing, while more German soldiers froze to death at the Russian front than died in action. Apart from that, the German “Kriegsmarine = War Navy“ finally wanted to be able to fight the US-Navy, which had (illegally) attacked German U-boats before, whereas any attack on the Americans had been prohibited to the “Kriegsmarine”. The American losses in the Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico were horrific at first. The U-boats even mined the Mississippi-Delta, and the Germans smelled the close forests of Louisiana out on the sea. - But not only on the sea! - Don’t forget: the entire country was full of Germans! ...
In 1941 the German-American Admiral Chester Nimitz from Friedrichsburg/ Fredericksburg, Texas, became commander-in-chief U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas (more about Chester Nimitz at the link “Armed Forces“ down on the left). Later he (a German!) signed the Japanese capitulation for the USA!
In 1942 the German descending US-General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Eisenhauer) from Texas became commander-in-chief of the allied troops in Africa. In 1943 he became highest commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. - He later called the war a ”crusade“. - No comment ...
In 1942/43 Carl Spaatz (of Pennsylvania-German descent) became commander of the US-Air Force in Africa. Since January 1944 he was the commander-in-chief of the strategic US-Air Force in Europe and since July 1945 against Japan. After the war he became Chief of Staff of the US-Air Force.
In 1945 the German-American contributions to the victories in Europe and in the Pacific area submerged. Hardly anyone spoke about the courage and bravery or the sacrifices of German-American soldiers and their families. Once more German-Americans hid their national identity. They didn’t want to suffer under disadvantages for the disgusting crimes of the Nazis. How real this fear was, is shown by the famines in Germany, during which the USA (in contrast to the United Kingdom, where the population suffered itself) did not fulfil it’s obligations to supply the population. It took civilian dismay in America about photos of starving German children to end this attitude. It was a time of hatred among nations, not of a victory against the hatred among nations. - Unfortunately! - The predatory deportations, decided at the Potsdam Conference, and the mass-murders in the deportation-areas prove this finally.
1947 The U.S. Air force pilot Charles “Chuck“ Yeager (actually Jäger) becomes the first men to break the sound barrier.
Soon there was a “new” enemy: Communism.
A few years after World War II the western powers therefore already pressed for a reconstruction of German armed forces. - The idea wasn’t completely new: US-officials had already negotiated with Waffen-SS-leaders (not Wehrmacht-officers!) in Italy about an alliance against the Soviets ... - … and that’s really true!
In 1955 German soldiers from Europe and German soldiers from America were finally allies, in the NATO alliance.
1969 On the 20th of July the German-American US-Astronaut Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Neil came from Ohio and was the son of Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Louise Viola Engel. - Accordingly one could say: if your Mama is born as an “Engel = Angel“, you’re naturally somehow destined to fly ... - but this would be religious ... - In every case Neil (on the 21st of July) was the first human, who made a step onto extraterrestrial ground! - Yey!!!
The flight director on Earth was Gene Kranz. The rocket-technology and the space suite were based (to a huuuge extend) on the work of German/ German-American engineers and designers! The most important one was Wernher von Braun, who had already led the rocket-program of the German Reich in World War II. In spite of all pride one therefore also has to remember the victims of this rocket-development. Many forced workers had died under horrific circumstances then!
1970 On the 4th of May four students, who had demonstrated against the widening of the Vietnam War, were groundlessly shot in Ohio by the National Guard, like the FBI later ascertained. The victims were Allison Krause, Sandy Scheuer, Bill Schroeder, Jeff Miller. The circumstances of their death were hushed up. “Free Media“ lied to the American people about these events. At the end this awful violence strengthened the peace-movement.
That also members of this peace-movement caused big emotional harm to US-soldiers and their families, is a different sad topic of this time filled by a get-up-and-go-attitude and fantastic music - just like the many innocent victims in Vietnam! - Learning from history is soo important!!!
Since the 70s the anti-German resentments got weaker in America. The “Frrranconian” Heinz (alias Henry) Kissinger was US-Secretary of State and received the Nobel peace prize. Typical subliminal propaganda-images (like for example, that the bad guys in movies almost always drove German cars ... or that Germans in movies were almost always stiff, grimy idiots) lasted far into the 90s however - partly even until today ... - No wonder, that the decline of the German culture continued too under these impressions (also in Europe!!!) - who’d want to belong to “unlikable idiots”?! ...
... only those, who are smarter than the real idiots!!! ...
In 1983 US-President Ronald Reagan, who was treated with a remarkable hostility in the so called “Federal Republic of Germany”*, declared the 6th of October the yearly “German-American Day“ and appealed people to celebrate this day with German traditions! It was the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Germantown, Pennsylvania.
* The German name is different to the English expression “Federal Republic of Germany“. “Bundesrepublik Deutschland“ means “Federal Republic Germany”. However the state is not Deutschland/ Germany. The word “Deutschland” arose in the 15th century from “das deutsche Land = the German country”. So Deutschland/ Germany is the land, marked by the German culture - a culturally defined area - not a state! No other state has ever officially called itself Germany(!), but several included much more of this territory and the German people! Just using this name would be incorrect, manipulating and morally wrong.
In 1990 the German descending US-General H. Norman Schwarzkopf led the allied troops in the Gulf War. In the media he received the nickname ”Stormin’ Norman“. His father had also already served as a US-General. This service had led Norman to Germany as a boy as well.
In 1996 the Comanches and the Germans in Fredericksburg, Texas, began the tradition, to celebrate the treaty of 1847 with a yearly powwow.
In 2003 the Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California. His Training in the Austrian “Bundesheer = Federal Army” had enabled him to play the role of a fighting-machine named “Terminator“ before. This movie proved finally, that not even Bajuvarians always wear Lederhosen! At least not “such“ Lederhosen ... - Blow! So he did were “Lederhosen = leather pants“ indeed! ... - Accordingly we simply recommend our chapter “The tribes” here again ...
In 2014 the New Yorker entrepreneur and former “Grandmarshall“ of the New York Stubenparade Donald Trump publicly declared his pride on the German descent of his family. Once he had kept up the “covering lie“ of his father that the family would have come from Sweden. On the 9th of November 2016 Donald Trump won the elections for the 45th President of the United States and was inaugurated in the beginning of 2017. November 9th is a very remarkable day at many points of German history! To the good, just like to the bad. Everyone who reads it, can learn much about how important it can be, to keep serenity, but also attention, to hold together and really listen to political opponents(!), as how often have there already been issues, in which both sides were somehow right! - And how often have journalists already spread things, which were not true.
In 2017 the Germerika Project arose out of the will to remember 1917, honor the German heroes in American history and help the numerous active German-Americans in preserving heritage and creating new glory.
And now take part, “make history“! - Thanks in advance!